Net Zero Economy Index 2021

By PwC

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their recent report issued a code red that there is more than a 50% chance that we will reach 1.5°C warming within the next two decades if emissions continue at their current rates.

Whilst many countries have strengthened their commitments, it is clear that ambition is nowhere near enough to keep global warming to 2°C let alone 1.5°C. It is in this context that this year’s Net Zero Economy Index examines the rate of decarbonisation needed to deliver a 1.5°C aligned net-zero world by 2050 and examines how G20 member states are faring against what is required.

A 12.9% annual global rate of decarbonisation is now required to limit warming to 1.5°C. In 2020 the rate of global decarbonisation – the reduction in carbon intensity or energy-related CO2 emissions per dollar of GDP – was 2.5%. This rate represents a very slight improvement from last year’s rate of 2.4%, but is still significantly lower than the annual global rate of decarbonisation required to achieve the 1.5ºC goal.

Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across the world, many countries are beginning to lift restrictions. With it we are seeing a resurgence in economic activity and a rebound in emissions. The growth in emissions during 2021 has been driven by an increase in demand for coal in electricity generation. Despite efforts by some governments to stimulate a green recovery, global energy demand is set to increase by 4.6% in 2021 – led largely by emerging markets and developing economies.

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